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Retro Blog - Tigers Prospect Review 11/06

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by , 06-07-2009 at 11:37 AM (678 Views)
One of my old Myspace entries, it's always fun to look back and see what came to fruition since:

Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Detroit Tigers of the Future

It's not easy to become a big league ballplayer, and even a top amateur player must prove himself by demonstrating his performance and perfecting his craft against tough competition. Each year all the big league teams get together and conduct a draft of all available high-school and college players. Some teams prefer to draft college players, who have more game experience and physical maturity. Some teams will also draft high-school kids, who may be less polished, but have shown superior athletic skills and a willingness to learn the nuances of baseball in the minor leagues.

The Tigers have several minor league teams, including teams in the Gulf Coast League, Florida State League, Midwest League, Eastern League, and International League. A player may initially be placed in the GCL or FSL. Success in that league then earns promotion to a more advanced league, where tougher competition awaits. Here are some of the Tigers' most promising young prospects, the Tigers of the future ...

CENTER FIELD: Cam Maybin

Age 20
6-4, 205, Bats Right
Drafted in 1st Round (2005, Asheville, NC)

Maybin has a rare combination of speed, power, and defensive skill that comes along once in a generation. Many baseball experts consider him the most promising young player in all of the minor leagues. Cameron simply demolished the ball in high school, finishing with a batting average over .600 and claiming many South Carolina state records. Many thought he was college-bound, so the Tigers received an opportunity to draft him with the #10 pick in round one. Detroit was able to lure Maybin into signing a pro contract, and should receive some dividends from their investment very soon indeed.

Maybin played at West Michigan in 2006, and put up impressive numbers despite a nagging finger injury. Cameron batted .304, showed good extra-base power, and showed good base-stealing ability. Detroit fans are chomping at the bit to see him in the outfield at Comerica Park. That could happen as soon as September of 2007.

STARTING PITCHER: Andrew Miller

Age 21

6-6, 210, Throws Left

Drafted in 1st Round (2006, UNC)

The Tigers, drafting sixth in the first round, were shocked to find Miller still available, and did not hesitiate to draft and sign the talented left-hander. Miller had a quick cup of coffee with Lakeland, pitching three games and striking out nine in only 5 2/3 innings. As a condition of his contract, the Tigers brought Miller to Detroit for the month of September. Due to an injury to Mike Maroth, Miller got to pitch in some meaningful games for the Tigers, and displayed a good fastball and a sharp-breaking slider. He did struggle to throw strikes, which should be expected from a player going almost directly from a college campus to the Big Show. Expect to see Miller pitching at Erie this spring, but he could be back in Detroit by 2008, if not sooner.

FIRST BASE: Jeff Larish

Age 24
6-2, 200 Bats Left
Drafted in 5th round (2005 - Arizona State)

Jeff had a good 2006 in the FS, totalling 18 home runs (13 HR through the end of June). He added 34 two-base hits and drew plenty of walks (81). Most important of all, he bats left-handed, and the Tigers clearly have a need for more lefty batters.



OTHERS WORTH WATCHING:

Jair Jurrgens, Starting Pitcher. JJ was simply dominant while at Lakeland, and earned promotion to the Erie Seawolves by mid-June. He struggled in July, but bounced back in August, allowing only 1.16 baserunners per inning in those games. JJ has outstanding control of his pitches, and should start the 2007 season with Toledo, just one step from the major leagues.


Brent Clevlen, Outfielder. At Erie, Brent got into a long batting slump. Through June 21st, he was only batting .206 with three home runs. Clevlen then rediscovered his batting swing, and struck seven HR over the next four weeks. That hot streak earned him a one-month trial in Detroit. Clevlen was very impressive both at the plate and in the outfield, making great throws and hitting some important home runs for the Tigers. But he is still a very raw product and will need significant playing time to improve his swing. Brent will man one of the outfield spots at Erie or Toledo, but could be Detroit's right fielder in a few years.

Virgil Vasquez, Starting Pitcher. Playing for Erie, Vasquez struggled at first, allowing 1.57 baserunners per inning. However, from June 1st going forward, he become a pitching mainstay, and lowered that figure to 1.29 for the season. This past fall, Vasquez hurled in the Arizona fall league, and was nearly un-hittable. His strong performances of late should earn promotion to Toledo (International League). Vasquez, along with current Mudhen Jordan Tata, will try out this spring for a spot with the big club.

Corey Hamman, Relief Pitcher. The Tigers have lost lefty reliever Jamie Walker, who recently signed with Baltimore. His replacement could be a much younger lefty, Corey Hamman. Corey started quite a few games at Toledo, but fared better as a relief pitcher. The Tigers have taken notice of his ability to get lefty batters out, as they only batted .207 against Hamman last year.

Tony Giarratano, Shortstop. Tony has a good glove but has struggled with the bat. He started very slowly at Erie, batting .224 by the end of May. Giarratano then got on a great streak, with 29 hits in his next 59 at-bats, including 8 doubles. However, he lost the rest of his season to injuries and his potential remains to be seen. If all goes well, Tony should be promoted to Toledo, and someday he'll be a decent bench player in the major leagues.

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